Keir Starmer, values, the pandemic and the British. Are they in sync?

In a live webinar that took place on 24 June 2020, Keir Starmer said that there was a feeling among many in the UK that “we haven’t got our values right”. You know, that brought tears to my eyes, mostly of relief and also a little bit of gratitude.

Because I too feel that many in the UK haven’t got their values right and that is certainly reflected by the UK government.

It goes for many people in various other countries too, of course.

People who have no problem with cold-hearted callousness. People who see no problem with keeping other humans as slaves. Modern slavery shackles between 20 to 50 million people around the world, depending on how you define it.

People can be kept almost like cattle in stable-like conditions or be in a slightly better situation, trapped and for example sent to apply for housing benefits or other benefits that will go to their keepers. Who cares.

This parallel with how humans exploit non-human animals reveals the connection between how we treat each other and how we treat other species and vice versa.

Only a few days later, Keir Starmer badly messed up during BBC Breakfast on 29 June. Gone was the human rights lawyer with the emphasis on the importance of treating each other humanely, having worked in all sorts of countries all around the world suggesting that he had seen and learned so much. In his place, we saw someone much harsher and quite callous, someone keen on sending thousands to jail and someone who dismissed “Black Lives Matter” as a moment, as something that happened in faraway daft America, had nothing to do with the UK, thereby dismissing everyone in the UK who is not lily-white.

The slithery slippery slope of politics exemplified. Two sharply contrasting faces. The same man. One addressing young people in Britain, including non-indigenous Brits, the other addressing the typical BBC Breakfast audience.

So I guess that Keir Starmer does not have his values right either because “values”, that’s just whatever you present that you think will gain you most votes in his view. In the webinar, he spoke appreciatingly of “Becky” several times. The next day, he fired her. It does not matter whether she had her values right or not. If she did not, then it would have been clear long before that day and she should not have been part of Starmer’s team and if she did, then Loyalty 101 should have applied. Enough about that.

The COVID-19 lockdowns made many people more compassionate in the UK. More considerate. We started noticing each other more now, without judging. The social distancing rules forced us to look at each other and estimate the distance first instead of instantly assessing and judging each other on appearances or not even noticing those others and just walking by them.

On the same day when Starmer emulated Priti Patel on BBC Breakfast, I also read this.

Great UK headline 29 June 2020. This appears to confirm that there is indeed a feeling throughout the UK of “we haven’t got our values right”.

Apparently, lots of Brits want the country to be fairer. But for whom? And how long will that sentiment last? Fingers crossed!